Our hero this week is Graeme who got involved after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 7 years ago. With his brother Ron also living with Parkinson’s it’s a cause close to his heart. After hiding from his condition for years Graeme decided to start fundraising and is humbled by the support he has received from his local community.
What Drives Your Commitment to find a cure for Parkinson’s?
The reason I want to do something is that I have seen what my brother has had for about 20 years. Ron is my inspiration. He doesn’t whinge about his problems. We talk and he is always (nearly) happy. I have only been diagnosed since 2010. It is slowly catching up with me, but I am still not that bad. I work out with weights and elliptical trainer whenever I can. I have my laser cutting machine to keep my brain and fingers going as well.
It is not very nice but it could be worse.
As I say, if you are going to get a neurological disorder, get Parkinson’s. It is the best to treat.
And if you are going to get cancer, get Thyroid cancer. It is the easiest one to treat.
I must be bloody lucky. I got both.
I am actually, I will survive them both.
Why Shake It Up Australia?
Shake It Up does a lot for the Parkinsons community. I am just starting to realise what having Parkinson’s means and the knowledge that I get from reading the newsletters has helped me know it is bigger than just Ron and myself.
Tell us what you are doing to Shake Things Up?
I suppose I have been hiding from it for years, but now I have started trying to fundraise in our small seaside village with a couple of donation boxes I made with my laser cutting machine (which I call Shaky Man Laser, from a mate who calls me shaky), that the local Country club and the local Hardware shop have generously let me put on their main counters. The support from the community has been fantastic.
My greatest reward has been the people around me, from my brother and his wife, my friend and carer, Maree, my family, Maree’s family, and my friends. They all treat me like there is nothing wrong. They all make me feel “normal” when I feel self-conscious about my condition. I still don’t call it a disease. I feel it is a condition, not a disease. I suppose I still don’t fully accept it. I hope I will always try to fight it. I won’t just lay down and let it change who I am.
Best advice for people looking to Shake It Up?
As they say in the classics, Illegitimi non carborundum, ie, don’t let the bastard wear you down.